ROUND 17, 2022 NRL TELSTRA PREMIERSHIP
SATURDAY JULY 9, 2022
EELS 28 defeat TIGERS 20
It wasn’t a confident win, but two points is two points.
The Eels let their heads drop early after a couple decisions didn’t go their way. Yes, the Lane no try was a try, and there was absolutely no forward pass in the lead up to the Penisini no try. But with the officials having a shocking game, this doesn’t mean the Eels should have followed suit. Unfortunately the Eels didn’t initially respond well and the Tigers went 12 nil up – and all Parra fans were thinking, “here we go again.”
After getting back on track, the Eels then gave the Tigers a sniff late in the game instead of putting them away and improving the points differential. It was definitely a case of not keeping the foot on the throat.
I was expecting more from our forwards who didn’t lay the platform as they should. With Junior on rep duty and Matto out with injury, only one forward in Papali’i really stood up.
This was not an attractive match to watch. Errors and penalties marred the flow of the game, with over zealous officiating and poor handling being a feature.
Though there was much for the Eels to improve, the shining light was the better form from Parra’s halves. Mitchell Moses was a threat every time he ran the ball, and Dylan Brown was outstanding in defence.
The Key Numbers
Parramatta had just 48% of possession, which was compounded by only completing at 73% (27 from 37).
The Eels spent 39:50 in the Tigers half with 14:51 of that in the Tigers red zone.
Total metres gained were 2054m, with 1318 running metres, including 502 post contact metres.
Just one forward cleared the 100 metre mark. ‘Ice’ carried for 152m off 14 runs with 66 post contact metres. Only three backs broke the 100, with Simonsson clocking 126 run metres, Sivo 103 and Gutherson 102.
Run Heat Map
There was plenty of hard work done between the two 20 metre lines. However, the faded yellow in the Tigers half indicates that the platform wasn’t created to mount serious pressure on a wounded Tigers team.
There was just the single set start in the Tigers 20. As the running heat map illustrated, this meant that no real pressure was put on the Tigers line. The footy needs to be more clinical, not to mention smarter.
Parra made 350 tackles, missing 28 with 8 ineffective. This delivered a tackle efficiency of 90.7%.
Reed Mahoney was the busiest in defence with 52 tackles (7 misses), followed by Marata Niukore (40) and Shaun Lane (37).
Discipline was poor from both sides. The Eels gave away 9 penalties, 3 set restarts and made 13 errors. This was not good enough, as these errors and penalties provided piggy backs for the Tigers as they marched down field.
Strange Stat Of The Week
Reed Mahoney ran just once, gaining a grand total of 2 run metres. This is quite unusual for any 80 minute hooker. Had he not backed up in support for his try (most of which was a slide) he would have registered zero runs.
We aren’t seeing any of his cheeky darts, and our highly touted dummy half isn’t looking his usual self as of late.
Stats Player of the Week
Mitchell Moses was so dominant in this game, that he was ultimately the difference between the two teams. Quite simply, if he wasn’t out there, the Tigers could well have taken the victory. His offsider in Dylan Brown provided solid support in a much needed bounce back performance from our halves.
Check out these awesome numbers from Moses:
Minutes Played – 80
Possessions – 43
Run Metres – 86
Runs – 9
Tries – 1
Conversions – 4 from 5
Post Contact Metres – 46
Line Breaks – 2
Try Assists – 1
Kick Metres – 603
Kicks – 12
Tackles – 12
Tackle Breaks – 7
I’m going to use this platform to express my opinion on a number of issues.
Firstly, I believe that the strength of Eels bench has fallen. Our forward depth is lacking and this could be a concern for next year. However, there is one solution that I’d like to see implemented immediately.
A second hooker on the bench should be tried. Mitch Rein would do wonders for the Eels with his defence and dummy half runs. He is the type of player who could lift the team and give Reedy a spell. If Reed is fatiguing due to his 80 minute work load, his effectiveness might benefit from a mid-match rest.
Junior and RCG lay a good platform in the opening stanza of games, but when they go off, so does the Eels go forward. Our reserve forwards run hard but aren’t really bending the line.
What addition could be made to the bench to provide that lift?
Ky Rodwell is still very green and Nathan Brown seems out of favour. Perhaps Ofahiki Ogden could come into calculations. He has experience and been in good form in NSW Cup.
If I was given the job of selector, I’d go for a bench of Rein, Niukore, N. Brown and Ogden.
I’m not a fan of selecting an unused back on the bench. Opacic is a starting player and a solid defensive centre. I would be playing Blake on a wing with Opacic in the centres, which would mean Simonsson sits out. I’d even consider giving Sivo more time in reserves and elevating Sean Russell.
My most controversial opinion concerns Clint Gutherson.
Don’t get me wrong, I love our leader. But, he needs to tidy up his game a little, and it starts with his kicking.
Gutho’s attacking kicks have been very poor recently, either way too short or way, way too heavy. He runs hard and strong onto the ball, and at full tilt he doesn’t have the finesse to get the ball to pull up inside the dead ball line. Perhaps he should put the boot away for now?
I’d also like Gutho to remember what he does best. He’s a fine support player, especially when he runs off the hips of forwards. We need to see more of this. A solid video session watching tapes on Billy Slater and even James Tedesco might be in order. Leave the majority of the ball playing to Moses and D. Brown.
The Eels now have a three game run of home games against the Warriors, the Broncos, then the Panthers. All these games are winnable.
Let’s see a packed out CommBank Stadium cheering on the boys as we head into the final quarter of the season.
Yours in Blue and Gold